Sarah Palin and Blood Libel: Doin' it Wrong

[Video Link, the referenced video became non-embeddable on the domain as of 11:50pm PT.]

I try to avoid blogging about Sarah Palin, for the same reasons I've tried to avoid blogging about Snooki and Paris Hilton, and feeding any number of garden variety internet trolls. Today, I will ask for your forgiveness, and break this rule.

Sarah Palin released a web video today in which she reads a speech off a teleprompter about "freedom" and the recent mass shooting in Arizona. In this speech, she reads the phrase "Journalists and pundints [sic] should not manufacture a blood libel."


So, here's what blood libel historically refers to:

1) [A notorious Bible verse, Matthew 27:25,] taken by Christians for centuries to indicate that the Jewish people as a whole and for perpetuity bore direct responsibility for the crucifixion and were therefore fair game for persecution and extermination.

2) A false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have-alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration-been a major theme in European persecution of Jews. The libels typically allege that Jews require human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover.

NYT,, Guardian, Wikipedia.

Incidentally, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head on Saturday in Tucson and remains in critical condition in an Arizona hospital, is Jewish. She is, in fact, the first Jewish congresswoman to have ever been elected in Arizona. Her grandfather changed the family name from "Hornstein" to avoid anti-Semitism in an earlier era.

Looks like Palin's speechwriters picked up "blood libel" from Glenn Reynolds in the Wall Street Journal just a day before [UPDATE: Glenn's response is now here.] Glenn is no dummy, and is a friend of this blog, and should know better. Shame on all of you for not fact-checking, unless it is true that we "journalists and pundints [sic]" have been manufacturing the zombie Jew slaughter of innocent Christian babies and using their blood to bake delicious ZOG matzah. What is this I don't even.

Most importantly, "blood libel" and related anti-semitic slurs led directly to pogroms, and mass killings of Jewish people over generations. I don't suspect Reynolds would be so cold-blooded as to inject the term to pander to anti-semites and one-worlders, but I wouldn't put it past Palin's speechwriters.

Related reading:
Jonah Goldberg in the National Review, on why this mis-use of the term is weird.
USA Today on anti-semitic threats and Giffords
Washington Post on the ADL's reaction
(Special thanks to Glenn Fleishman)


  1. From I can tell from the speech, the important lesson here is that Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shooting.

    1. From I can tell from the speech, the important lesson here is that Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shooting.

      Anyone know Palin’s address? I want to send her a get well soon card. Poor Sarah. Truly, this tragedy has hurt her the most.

      1. Then why was the map with cross hairs suddenly removed from her website? Does she somehow feel the map contributed/fanned the shooter’s rhetoric?

        If she does not feel this at all, put the map back. Go on.

    2. From I can tell from the speech, the important lesson here is that Sarah Palin is the real victim of the Arizona shooting.

      Almost. The lesson is that she wants to be a victim of the AZ shooting.

    3. Please tell me you’re being sarcastic! The TRUE victims of this tragedy are a 9 year old girl who died unneedingly, a congresswoman, and other men and women who were shot and died or were severely injured for no reason.

      The former half term governor must remember that words DO matter, whether she wants to admit it or not.

    4. Sarah uses the language of smooth patriotic rhetoric that Ronald Reagan used. This language has turned American into a nonsensical corporate criminal state. Language is destroying the Republic exceptfor those who are not on the top 10 percent. Language has allow Corporatism to flourish is Democracy to falter. Corporatism is not Democracy and language, speech and propaganda has convinced some Americans that it is.

    1. If Dubya could use “Crusade” in a major speech about the War On Terrorism, while clearly not knowing the origin of the term, are we surprised that Palin is similarly using “Blood Libel”?

      1. If Dubya could use “Crusade” in a major speech about the War On Terrorism, while clearly not knowing the origin of the term…

        Can we please stop referring to Bush as some kind of retard? The man ended up as the President of the United States. He’s an asshole and a war criminal, but he is not stupid. Do you really think that he hadn’t heard about The Crusades?

        1. I’m sure he heard the word, but you can’t be sure he knew much about it though. While I’ll give you that he is not a “retard” but at the same time I wouldn’t go so far to say that he is not stupid. The guy had handlers and the best political team money could buy. He did poorly enough at a whole slew of things that leads me to believe that his political career was not powered by him. I view the presidency of George Bush as that of a team that used a President’s son as it’s focal point.

          That’s like someone being carried 95% of the way to the top of Everest and then saying that he is an incredible athlete and human being. He made it to the top and sure it took some doing on his part but I wouldn’t rush to give that individual too much credit.

          1. But every president has armies of handlers. The point is that he had a very, very specific image to play up in public, and did so much to his advantage.

  2. Sarah Palin is a troll. Don’t feed the trolls. She *wants* people to react to what she says and make a big fuss about it. It’s free publicity.

    1. Sarah Palin is a troll. Don’t feed the trolls. She *wants* people to react to what she says and make a big fuss about it. It’s free publicity.

      I believe her speechwriters are very clever, and filled her talk with code words (per NY Times article and beyond that analysis) designed to trigger specific associations with precise right-wing affinity groups.

      I won’t lump the tea party in here, because Sarah Palin is for Sarah Palin, and the tea party folks (lowercase) represent a large swath of opinion, a small percentage of it reasonable. But it’s not lockstep with her.

      Rather, Palin is pandering with code words to anti-semites, anti-immigrants, right-wing extremists, one-world-government worriers, and others. Her whole appeal has been the ability to wink (literally) at a good percentage of minority extreme opinion that can’t speak its name. She puts a public face on hatred that’s pretty.

      What I love, though, is that her reality show highlighted for more mainstream Republicans that she is a totally incompetent outdoorsperson, and that all her talk about guns, hunting, fishing, and the like, was entirely fabricated. She’s no mama grizzly. She’s a suburban Manchurian Candidate.

      1. What I love, though, is that her reality show highlighted for more mainstream Republicans that she is a totally incompetent outdoorsperson, and that all her talk about guns, hunting, fishing, and the like, was entirely fabricated. She’s no mama grizzly. She’s a suburban Manchurian Candidate.

        Indeed, I remember catching footage of her and her crew shooting at (and missing for a bit) a totally passive, unmoving animal (elk, moose, jackalope? I can’t really remember)right in front of them. It was nothing resembling sport of any kind. I can’t imagine how real hunter types wouldn’t have been a little turned off by it.

    1. Also, critics of the inflammatory language used by the Right are just like the Nazis!

      You kid, but I’ve been listening to a lot of right wing radio for some time now and they’ve been saying that basically.

      The dimwits think all the outrage is really just a plot by liberals to censor political speech. As in ALL political speech from tea baggers, conservatives, etc.

      I haven’t really read through the comments here in this thread yet, so there might be some dimwits here too who think that, but I can confirm that numb-skulls on radio are living the tard dream.

      And, yes, I really do listen to a lot of right wing radio… it’s enraging but also pretty damn funny to listen to a bunch of people who don’t realize they’re being funny sometimes. It’s also a great way to know your enemy.

  3. As long as I can remember, as long as my parents were involved in conservative politics, it’s never been about right or wrong, truth and justice; it doesn’t matter if what you say actually makes sense, it just matters if it reinforces the greater narrative, or evokes the feelings that your audience wants to feel. Don’t worry about integrity or good governance, just grab that dog whistle and blow as hard as you can.

  4. She is an offensive person. I try to do my best to ignore her in the hopes she’ll go away, but that doesn’t seem to be working.

  5. Another terrible choice of words by a woman with a persecution complex and a gift for gaffe, but I have no problem believing that Palin was ignorant of that term’s historical context. I’d never heard that term and I daresay I’m as well read as Palin.

  6. Thank you for this post. After tweeting about how… not offended… but amazed that Palin would use the term Blood Libel I was surprised how many people didn’t know the term or the history.

    Sarah Palin, the Republicans, the Tea Party and Fox News: Co-opting discrimination and genocide to cover your ass and make yourself out to be the victim of the Tucson shooting is not acceptable.

  7. She also tacitly admits we should not be in Afghanistan… you can’t blame a whole state for the monstrous criminal acts of just a few people!

  8. Wow, it looks like we’ve been attacking the wrong person. Sarah Palin is an ignorant fool who has no idea what “blood libel” means; she thinks people saying bad things about her is libel, and it’s about killing so it’s bloody, or whatever. But Glenn Reynolds is a professor of law; he should know better. The Professor should be condemned, and Xeni, you shouldn’t be sucking up to him just because he probably drove a lot of traffic to your site in the early days.

    1. “The Professor should be condemned, and Xeni, you shouldn’t be sucking up to him just because he probably drove a lot of traffic to your site in the early days.”

      Agreed. The Ole Perfesser has become just another key on the right-wing Wurlitzer.

    2. Normally, I wouldn’t respond to such trollish and offensive comments. I’ll let the comment stand, and state on the record that there is no sneaky traffic-debt conspiracy or suck-uppage going on here. Reynolds and I don’t agree on everything all the time, but he has shown himself to be a reasonable and thoughtful man on many matters, and has expressed kindness and neighborliness to me and to this blog. I think he’s a good dude. If I were sucking up, I wouldn’t have named him in this article, and pointed to him as the likely originator of this term in the current news cycle.

      1. I’ll gladly retract my agreement with any traffic-driving statements. Further I’d be happy to stipulate that Reynolds is a nice enough guy in person and has been kind and pleasant to you. His public record, though – as illustrated by this incident, especially – speaks for itself. – and if you object, I’ll emit “Heh, indeedy” and claim that my link was just to stimulate discussion.

    3. I’m Jewish. I’m afraid that the past might repeat itself. And yet I like Glenn Reynolds, despite largely disagreeing with him, and I believe he used an ill-turned phrase, trying to pull something together (which was full of unusually specious logic for him). In context, he wasn’t try to draw a connection. He should have known better, and the (frankly) many Jews at the WSJ editorial board and others in the neo-con and traditional-con movement should have fixed it.

      I’m giving Reynolds the benefit of the doubt, because he’s earned it. But Sarah Palin’s speechwriters? They knew what they were doing. They had days to think about that. They wrote and rewrote what she parroted. They knew.

      What would be good now is for Reynolds to apologize for using the term, and have the Journal run a clarification.

      1. No, wait, I’m sorry: Glenn Reynolds won’t apologize. In fact, he devoted an entire post today about how he’s justified using this term because other people on the left and right used it before. So, okay, Reynolds deserves the same opprobrium.

        Reynolds citation of Frank Rich is absurd, because Rich is using blood libel in historical context and correctly. Reynolds is using blood libel as a term out of historical context and out of scale.

        It’s like Godwin’s Law, only for blood libel.

        1. Yeah, I’m really amazed Glenn Reynolds cited Frank Rich using “blood libel” as if that exonerates him. Does Reynolds really think Palin is a victim of hateful smears on the same level as gays (the context Rich used the term in), let alone Jews?

  9. I hate Sarah Palin’s “small government / person responsibility” message as much as the next liberal, but I think some of us are displaying an unhealthy fascination with every single word that comes out of her mouth… and to be quite honest, I don’t get it.

      1. Can someone tell me why she put crosshairs over democrates if she didnt want someone to shoot them. What did you mean Sarah? Did I also hear Ms Gifford call her out that words do matter? I saw nothing about a ballot box or voting. People there are people out their that take what she said as the truth. What about all the doctors who have gotten killed over Abortion, words dont matter. What about the yo-yo’s who think Obama is a foreigner words dont matter. What about the crazies out there that think only blacks and Mexican are on welfare (believe me whites out number blacks and mexican even with blacks and mexican having the highest unemployment. Think words dont matter
        . 75% of people on Disablity are white. Think words don’t matter. Sarah say fire in a theater! Words do matter

    1. I know I’m guilty of this. I’m not really sure why, myself, other than she’s… kinda fascinating. Like any other fameball she exudes a kind of sick vacuum of such overpowering self-interest that we become interested in turn. It’s a reality show with a political subtext, maybe?

  10. Why on earth didn’t she wear anti-glare glasses?
    You can see the light of the teleprompter in her glasses… very very distracting

    (although she had little of any interest/consequence to say. … the non-stop blinking too …. classic sign of deception … or teleprompter?)

  11. The implication of that statement, that media questions about conservative rhetoric is somehow equivalent to the “blood libel” myth, is just astounding.

  12. Her quoting what was essentially a Reagan “personal responsibility” bit that pandered to racists was nearly as bad.

  13. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no way this wasn’t deliberate. Palin herself is an idiot, but she must surely have a number of handlers and writers and advisors helping with stuff that’s this obviously scripted. At least one of them knew exactly what it meant, and used it on purpose.

    Why? It changes the subject from, “Is Palin / are Republicans using unnecessarily incendiary language to try to cause incidents like Giffords’ shooting?” to “Are those whiny Jewish people getting all upset over nothing?”

  14. Sarah Palin isn’t about to apologize for her word choice. She’s never apologized for anything. She’s never admitted to the slightest fault. It’s all the Jewish media’s fault, after all.

    It remains to be seen whether Glenn Reynolds is a better person than Sarah Palin.

  15. also from the National Review “Blood Libel More Common than you might think”

    once again it’s not so simple as it first appears. Either way however I think it is one more example of either poor judgement on the part of Palin to use this particular term in this particular context – or it’s a calculated choice – or, more likely, it’s somewhere in between, as is most of the world we live in.

  16. If Ms. Palin really believes that any criticism of her violent words is a “reprehensible” effort to “muzzle dissent,” she should probably avoid accusing her critics of “blood libel” – a phrase that evokes memories of other opportunistic demagogues who HAVE incited murder with their words.

  17. So, I’m no fan of Palin’s, but I think I fail to see how terrible the use of the phrase is.

    It’s “a false accusation or claim” against religious minorities, usually Jews, and while she’s not being blamed on religious grounds, there’s a lot of blame going around. I don’t think she means people are saying she murders babies for matzos, but just using it as a term for false blame.

    Is it just that she’s not Jewish, or the claim isn’t religious in nature? Or the weight of all the past genocide that is attached with the term?

    I’m not defending her, wondering what I’m missing.

    1. Or the weight of all the past genocide that is attached with the term?

      Speaking only for myself, yes, that’s the crux of the biscuit. I’m fine when the term is used in historical content. If African Americans (or others) want to use it as a metaphor, fine. But a white, privileged, Christian deflecting political blame, let’s be careful not to compare ourselves to thousands of generations of persecuted people. It’s just not cool.

    2. but I think I fail to see how terrible the use of the phrase is.

      It’s just so… ahistorical. It’s EXACTLY like calling Obama a nazi socialist.

    3. It’s not really just a false claim or accusation; it’s a very specific narrative that repeated throughout history. Blood libel served to dehumanize Jews and underscore their Otherness; claims of blood libel often led to the murder of entire Jewish communities. Several cases are known from the Middle Ages, the most famous being Simon of Trent. You can Google the story, but here is a link to a picture printed in the Nuremberg Weltchronik, 1483.

      Consider the early date, and that the story of a 2 year old Christian boy allegedly murdered by a houseful of Jews was considered fit to print via a new and widely distributable medium (and in a world chronicle, no less). The image of ritual sacrifice is very graphic; the Jews are dark, shaggy, and deformed and wear funny clothing-including round yellow badges they were forced to wear. They hold the boy over a bowl to ensure that they catch every drop of blood; he is a stand in for Christ-check his position, the wounds inflicted (especially the cutting on the penis-circumcision was considered a wound inflicted on Christ by the Jews).

      One has to consider the society that bred these graphic tales and images, and how deeply rooted these hatreds were/are. That’s right–as late as 2006, a Jordanian news channel ran stories claiming blood libel (with Muslim children as the victims.)

      Palin’s experience in no way compares with the eight hundred years of persecution of the Jewish people and using the term so inappropriately suggests an equivalence, which is terribly offensive.

  18. Saying Reynolds “should know better” suggests that this was some sort of unintentional error on his part, but anybody who’s aware of his politics knows that the use of “blood libel” probably wasn’t a just a poor choice of words.

  19. Her speechwriters might have known what they were doing, but I could believe she didn’t. If this post hadn’t specified or defined what “blood libel” meant, I wouldn’t have guessed. And I consider myself somewhat educated in historical religious affairs (I am by no means a scholar, but probably more well versed than the average person just due to my religious upbringing).

    Truthfully, I’d never heard the term before. I assumed it was just her trying to pull at the heart strings of listeners by linking a bloody event with “libelous” accusations towards her connection with this.

    This quote I think sums it up pretty well: “Whether [political rhetoric] caused what happened in Tucson or not, it’ll cause the next tragedy,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)

  20. Just when I think that Sarah Palin cannot possibly reveal herself to be a more despicable and self-serving person than she already has, she goes and redeems herself.

    She has managed to blame every one of her very public failures on someone else, and now she is deflecting the fallout from her public image which is built solely upon violent, gun-centric rhetoric.

    I really hope that this is the last we will hear about ex-governor Palin on this site.

  21. YUMMY! DELICIOUS ZOG matzah!

    But anyways, Palin should have learned by now (hahaha, learning… it’s questionable whether even classical conditioning would work on her! But I digress.) that words bear responsibility, based on her (or her campaign people) having enough sense to actually take the cross-hair pics down.

    Apparently not.
    Furious backpedaling ensues, and half-assed attempts to blame everyone else. NEVER admit that your words may have been wrong, or at least totally inappropriate.

    Her nasty messages probably WEREN’T the reason for the shooting. Doesn’t change the fact that using language about violence and images that constitute not-so-subtle threats is not a good idea. Unless you actually WANT violence.

    And Palin comparing herself to people being persecuted…. YUCK
    Persecuted=attacked and blamed when you shouldn’t be
    When you get called out for what you actually DID DO, that’s called being made responsible for your actions.

  22. Sincerely, Xeni, brava. As a Jew, I need folks like you in my corner, folks who are willing to whip out the facts and wave them in the air. Until anti-semitism truly goes the way of the mastodon, please keep standing your post.

    And not for nothing, but my dad, and his family, left Poland in 1939. The town they lived in, it’s gone now. An entire town, driven into the dirt. So, y’know, my heart is open here. I hope others will forward this post to their friends. And if you get a chance, read a copy of Will Eisner’s “The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

  23. I’ll give a rat’s hindquarters about this entire debate once Sarah “Crosshairs” Palin makes an official pronouncement defending Ice-T’s song “Cop Killer” as purely metaphorical and fully protected free speech. I won’t hold my breath. Typical Republican MO is to accuse opponents of your very own crimes.

    1. “I’ll give a rat’s hindquarters about this entire debate once Sarah “Crosshairs” Palin makes an official pronouncement defending Ice-T’s song “Cop Killer” as purely metaphorical and fully protected free speech. I won’t hold my breath. Typical Republican MO is to accuse opponents of your very own crimes.”

      Heck, she makes perfectly clear that she has no intention of consistency. From the transcript

      Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

      (skip 1 1/2 paragraphs)

      But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

      So, actual acts of violence cannot be blamed on statements by conservatives, but hypothetical acts of violence are most certainly the fault of statements by liberals…

  24. Generally I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume cluelessness or stupidity instead of malice.

    Really, based on all the things she’s done in the past, is it really so unlikely this was just her or her speechwriters being complete air-heads on this?

    1. I’m pretty sure you’re right. Just incompetence.
      But they HAVE to realize that they have to at least attempt to do the damage control properly. Writing speeches right now without knowing the definition of the terms she’s saying is just bad politics, as well as amazingly stupid and incompetent.

      1. Writing speeches right now without knowing the definition of the terms she’s saying is just…

        plain irresponsible, which she has proven time and again is her defining characteristic.

        She’ll spin this into a liberal-media conspiracy to quote her accurately.

  25. “This is about the people, and it’s bigger than any one king or queen of a tea party, and it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter,” Sarah Palin said at a Tea Party conference.

    That was just one of several digs at President Barack Obama.

  26. So Sarah Palin’s speechwriters knew what they were doing, but Glenn Reynolds did not? Please.

    It’s not that prominent right-wingers are trying to incite hatred and violence in order to whip up their supporters; it’s that they don’t care if such violence occurs as long as it drives up turnout on election day.

    And that goes for the Perfesser as much as it does for Snowmobile Snooki.

  27. As much as I’d like to agree with those in this thread who say we should just ignore Sarah Palin, I don’t think we can. I was even starting to think that it was irresponsible of news outlets to cover her at all, as it is for them to cover the Westboro Baptist Church. But the thing that separates Sarah Palin from other trolls is that she wields real political influence. The fact that 18 out of her 20 crosshairs candidates won–regardless of whether they would have if she hadn’t been around–makes her a legitimate subject of news coverage.

    No, we are forced to deal with her blow for blow, and every time she makes irresponsible, incendiary statements like this, we should denounce her for it. Her Facebook bombs are sort of useful, in a way, as they force her allies all across the spectrum either to chide her for her carelessness, or defend her, and thereby damn themselves.

    But to mr_subjunctive’s point in #23, let’s not change the subject. It’s still incredibly reckless for Palin, Angle, et al to use the language of guns and violent revolution to stir up their base.

    1. Well said. Denouncement is absolutely the answer, civil and reasoned denouncement. I am not afraid of Sarah Palin, but I am concerned.

  28. Honestly, the part of her speech that jumped out at me was this:”It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.”

    Who fought the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security? Republicans? Ha – they were leading the charge for Americans to give up their rights and freedoms for “perceived security”. Just don’t ask them to give up their *guns* in return for security – real or perceived. That would be wrong! So you better not try to use this to pass any real gun control.

  29. I think it boils down to yet another Sarah media manipulation:

    Step 1 – she and her speech writers knew exactly what they were doing; Step 2 – the liberal Jewish commie media attack her YET AGAIN; Step 3 – poor Sarah is a victim; Step 4 – she appears on more talk shows, in more newspapers, sells more books, charges more for personal appearances, and her star rating skyrockets.

  30. “That necklace? Affectation to accompany the glasses.” — style critic

    If this human becomes president of that country, Paul Verhoven will be vindicated. Starship Troopers are go!

  31. A former TV personality who enthusiastically reads or shoots anything placed in front of her.

    She is perfect for a politician.

    It is silly to focus on her, there is no Sarah Palin without the teleprompter.

    The question is, who writes the words on the screen, who pays for the camera crews and for all the publicity around her?

    She is a tool. Who created, pays for and uses the tool?

  32. I’ve never bothered voting.


    I live in a republican state that carries it’s vote -one- way, and whether I agreed with it or not would make absolutely no difference given the size of the voter swing. I don’t really mind – life goes on and my taxes are relatively low, even if I might oppose some of the policies that are enacted.

    Palin is the -one- person that I would get off my couch to deliberately vote against.

    Really, this whole speech is just classless. Palin should take a second and watch Jon Stewart from a couple days ago. That is how she should have handled this (minus the naked old people sex part). A few simple words. No need to defend yourself, no need to defend your actions. Just accept that it’s a tragedy and stop with the “both sides were doing it so it’s ok” talk.


    1. I lived in a midwestern town — OK, Speedway, Indiana — that was solidly Republican. If there was a Socialist candidate on the ballot, and I remember several, they got my vote. Didn’t matter who they were, didn’t matter they wouldn’t win. I just wanted to scare the Hell out of some conservative, who would then worry who the dirty Commie neighbor was…

      Voting Libertarian (or Democrat) just doesn’t have the same kick.

  33. “There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.

    You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

    My friends, we shall declare that this nation is able to legislate for its own people on every question without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth, and upon that issue we expect to carry every single state in the Union.

    If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

    Anyway, populism’s a bitch

    1. I think it’s the botox. Her masklike countenance prevents her from pretending to be sympathetic.

      1. In this case our youthful beauty obsessed culture is a plus. As her looks go South I imagine less Teabagger males will see her as their super-sekrit girlfriend and her popularity will drop.

      2. But it’s not just that, the tone is all wrong, isn’t it, all flat, like a kid reading a homework he got off the internet without even reading it until it was in front of the class

  34. I’m thinking of how certain individuals used Adolf Hitler to further the agenda and wonder if like-minded individuals are using Sarah Palin in a similar manner.

  35. Robert Parry had a great column the other day about right wing victimhood talking points.

    “Indeed, the wallowing in ‘victimhood,’ especially among relatively privileged groups like white American Christian conservatives, can be particularly dangerous because these groups hold substantial political and media power. Thus, they are largely insulated from the consequences when some unstable individual carries out violence in reaction to their angry propaganda.
    “[I]n the middle of the last decade, Fox News and other elements of the right-wing media promoted the notion that Jews, Muslims and secularists were engaged in a ‘war on Christmas,’ denying Christians the ‘right’ to celebrate the birth of Jesus.”

    Sarah Palin is just continuing this (fairly new) tradition.
    She’s dumb as a rock, but her handlers and speech writers are very clever.

    1. “Thus, they are largely insulated from the consequences when some unstable individual carries out violence in reaction to their angry propaganda.”

      And “when” is that, exactly?

  36. The anti-semites who concocted the blood libels certainly didn’t call it a blood libel, for obvious reasons.

    No body panders to jew haters by saying “hey, I think the claim that jews drink human blood is libelous” because they WANT folks to think that. Saying it’s libel gives away the game.

    It wouldn’t be pandering to antisemites to say “Abortion is a horrible holocaust of the unborn.” Some jews might not like the co-opting of their special term, but it doesn’t pander to anti-semites: it assumes that a holocaust is a bad thing.

    1. eh…the thing is that the word holocaust, or “burnt offering,” appears in the Bible. It became The Holocaust, but preexists that usage and thus is not a “special term” for “jews” as you suggest. This is the same as catholic (meaning universal) versus Catholic. Blood libel refers to something specific, terrible, and completely incongruous with Palin’s situation.

  37. I agree with Alan Dershowitz:

    “The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.”

    1. Dershowitz: “I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report.”

      And nobody called you on it Alan, because you have credibility and education, you were talking about false accusations made of Jews, and your audience was made up of educated thinkers who know that term in context and out, primarily from it’s regular misuse.

      This contrasts with Palin’s target audience, many of whom openly believe Jesus was murdered by Jews and therefore Israel should be supported so that it can be destroyed and therefore Jesus can return.

      In the first context, it’s rude and ahistorical. In the second it’s sorta unbelievable that it’s an accident.

    2. Props for understanding that words change, and people use words differently. And for daring to quote Dershowitz anywhere, with sincerity: wow.

  38. Xeni-

    I heard part of Palin’s video this morning on the Bill Press Show as I was driving in to work, and I knew enough to know that ‘blood libel’ was a trigger phrase, but I didn’t remember the context, and no one I heard on Bill’s show mentioned it while I was listening. For her to start dragging in antisemitic drivel like this is just so freakin’ over the top that it’s going to drive her off the stage before the 2012 election. She’ll continue to appeal to the nut jobs like our desert assassin, but for the rest of us, for whom a simple ‘shucks, we should all just turn the rhetoric down just a little’ would have been a way to broaden her appeal, something that she still doesn’t seen the need to.

    The fact that she’s (finally) taken down the famous cross-hairs web page since the shooting on Saturday means that she knows what the heck she’s doing, but she just doesn’t care enough to do anything about it, or back down from any position she’s ever had, or any words she’s ever spoken. The woman is a complete tool (and not in the Chris Grundy way), and has way too much testosterone to ever rise to the Presidency, thank god.

  39. This video makes my skin crawl. The cynical manipulation of language and staging, combined with the emotional detachment in the reading is just creepy. The only thing reassuring is that this seems to confirm that as time goes by she will fool only some of the people all of the time.
    IMO, Reynolds and/or Palin’s writers had probably heard the phrase “blood libel” before and thought it meant any time someone is very publicly falsely accused of causing a violent death — not realizing it has a very specific historical context and is an extremely emotionally charged subject for Jews.
    But leaving that aside, this video is one of the more creepy examples of Sarah Palin’s MO that I’ve seen.

  40. Has this woman EVER said “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry”? Imagine, if you will, if a wretched democrat type entity would have had hunting targets on their page. The fireplace and american flag in the background were just too much. Soon, she will just start wrapping herself in the flag and wearing it as a toga as she proclaims herself Caesar.

  41. Hah! Palin has restricted embedding her video to this domain.

    Typical dimwit Palin. Like anyone coming here actually wants to see her gaffes and stupidity?

    Typical dimwit Palin. Thinking that censorship is the best path to take.

  42. Speaking of ‘coded’ rhetoric… isn’t the phrase she uses right at the beginning, “the death of innocents” a term commonly used by anti-abortion types?

  43. This is the beginning of the current Wikipedia entry for blood libel:

    “Blood libel (also blood accusation[1][2]) refers to a false accusation or claim[3][4][5] that religious minorities, almost always Jews[citation needed], murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays.[1][2][6] Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.[4]

    It also refers to the press targeting an idiot.”


  44. “I don’t suspect Reynolds would be so cold-blooded as to inject the term to pander to anti-semites and one-worlders, but I wouldn’t put it past Palin’s speechwriters. ”

    Ah – are you hinting that Sarah’s speechwriter senses a hopeless, sinking ship and set her up like an “Emperor With No Clothes”? There may be a head rolling after this one (figuratively speaking of course).

  45. Which domain does the creator approve for embedding.
    The insincerity was worth listening to, just couldn’t watch the video.

  46. How interesting: the Sarah Palin video just failed to reload, and now Vimeo tells us it’s been banned from being embedded in this domain. It apparently took the Palin organization an hour and a quarter to figure out that they could upgrade their Vimeo membership to Plus.

    Watching this video, I am struck, as others have been, by how poorly she reads the script. I wonder how many takes they shot: she’s working pretty hard at getting the words right (with limited success), but she’s employing the wrong emphasis in many phrases.

    I don’t usually watch her home-produced docu-dramas. Does she always read like this?

  47. Poor Sarah can’t seem to pull out of the hole she’s created over the years. Maybe Someone’s trying to tell her to give up the stage, take her money, and ride off into the Wasilla sunset.

  48. Wait – what’s up with the disabled embedding and the now-password-protected video? Was this originally from the Palin team? If so, this tells a new, and even more laughable story.

  49. Every time Palin opens her damn fool mouth, she reveals more and more of her less and less. After the Tucson tragedy and any unwitting complicity that she should have owned up to and apologized for, but instead remained deafeningly silent for four days; followed by her completely idiotic self-absolving response today, I’m confident that’s she’s finished in politics. Sure, she’ll continue to be the darling of the radical right, but I believe she’s damaged herself beyond repair with anyone slightly left of hard right. But hey, she’ll be perfect for The Real Housewives of Alaska, which is where she’s always belonged anyway.

    Don’t take your guns to town, Son
    Leave your guns at home, Sarah
    Don’t take your guns to town

  50. A couple of comments, slightly off track but still relevant:

    The flag placement in the video is incorrect. The flag should be displayed behind her right shoulder – something you would think to be important for her particular brand of “patriot.” Evidence, circumstantial as it may be, that her handlers are not all that swift. Don’t give them too much credit for the blood libel usage.

    Also, after more or less defending her “targeted districts” map as reasonable discourse, why then, did she remove it from her Facebook page?

    Flag etiquette link:

    1. What I worked for a US Rep, the Michigan militia nuts were always getting into a huffy about the flag at town halls. If it was in the wrong spot, or had fringe, or god knows what else, then they took at as if my boss was sending them a secret symbol that the constitution was being overthrown.

      Sometimes a flag is just a gesture of patriotism for the cameras!

  51. Does anyone else find it creepy that we’re now mired in the discussion of a word/phrase – when that was the manifesto of the idiot who started all this?

  52. “The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, who said the Pittsburgh hoax was ‘the blood libel against black men concerning the defilement of the flower of Caucasian womanhood. It’s been with us for hundreds of years and, apparently, is still with us.'”


    “Andrew Cohen of CBS News, May 7, 2008: ‘So-called “judicial activism” occurs, in other words, when it’s your side that lost the case and it is nothing short of a blood libel against judges to accuse them of operating by fiat.'”

    Double Hmmmm.

    Or ya’ll could go read the whole National Review article to see countless examples of punditry from both sides using the term for years.

  53. Looks like they just jumped out of the frying pan, and into the fire.

    Over at Team Sarah, they’re probably pointing fingers at each other, right now…”How was I supposed to know she was Jewish?! ‘Giffords’ isn’t a Jewish name, is it?”

  54. Whoa wait, when Sarah Palin rails against the mainstream media, she’s really railing against Jews?

    I’m not sure about that. For that to be true, you’d have to believe that she and a substantial percentage of Americans believe that Jews control the media.

  55. There are lots of things to criticize about Sarah Palin (see, she managed to turn this whole tragedy in to a discussion about her already!) but the use of the term “blood libel” isn’t one of them. It’s not an antisemitic term, it’s a term that refers to the religious intolerance that Jews have suffered. It’s a term at its core (libel) that refers to an accusation that is an untruth. If anything, it’s prosemitic. But just because it has been used by Jews to describe something that they have gone through doesn’t mean that it can’t be used by anyone else to describe something similar – there is no word, not even holocaust, that is explicitly reserved for anyone people or tragedy. To reserve those words only for their use would imply that no one can suffer as much or in the same way as another, which also implies an inherent difference in class of people, which only reinforces antisemitic thought. This whole debate about the appropriate use of blood libel is just a distraction; a way of getting people to talk about Sarah Palin and not about what happened and why. It’s a semantic debate, and quite frankly I’m anti-semantic.

    1. It’s not an antisemitic term, it’s a term that refers to the religious intolerance that Jews have suffered. It’s a term at its core (libel) that refers to an accusation that is an untruth.

      I don’t think that particular term scales down well to a single demagogue. Is her suffering that vast? truly?

      not to mention self inflicted?

  56. Palin should have said what Stewart said? GMFB. It would still have been phony baloney.

    Jon Stewart thought about what he was going to say in advance, probably talked about it with other members of the show, and then said it (not read it) once in front of a live audience.

    Sarah Palin did not write her own speech — that is completely clear — and it doesn’t sound as if she had any input into it at all. It’s not in her voice. She practiced reading it — or did multiple takes — to the point where she couldn’t even simulate sincerity. A Great Communicator she’s not — though Reagan always sounded phony to me, too.

  57. …”beautiful Catholic mass held in honor of the victims” (about 20 seconds in)…

    What Catholic mass? I can’t find it anywhere. There was the UofA memorial service with Obama, and an interfaith one with a Catholic priest who knew some of the victims, and obviously many religious and other groups around the country have chosen to honor the victims of the tragedy in various ways…but Palin specified a CATHOLIC mass. And she’s not Catholic herself, so she’s not talking about her own congregation.

    Many fundamentalist Christians believe that Catholics are not “real” Christians (I always find that particularly hilarious). So why is she making such a point of a Catholic mass? Is it meant to further polarize: us-versus-Jews?

  58. just curious – I see that today’s Palin video is still embedded and working on several other sites. Why doesn’t it work here? Can any explain that to me?

  59. Sarah Palin won’t run for President. There’s not enough money in it. She’s a grifter at heart. Simply put, more attention paid to Sarah = more money for Sarah.

    1. She’ll run for president precisely because that’s where the money is. If she actually wins, well, she can always quit.

  60. 00:30 -> fascinating how she gets from the shooting to what an exceptional country it is. Terrifying

  61. Oh well, the radical right didn’t need the jewish vote anyway, like they don’t need the black vote, the latino vote, the muslim vote, the female vote, the blue collar vote, the middle class vote, the liberal vote, the moderate vote, the disabled vote, etc…

    Makes you wonder why these clowns get elected at all.

  62. Whether or not the use of the term “blood libel” was correct is an interesting and nuanced discussion. However this topic detracts from her larger message which I agree with 100%.

    It’s not a coincidence that Palin has released this video on the same day that Obama is expected to give a speech re the shooting. I’m very curious to hear what Obama says. Will he stay classy and echo Palin’s message (I’m willing to bet money he does), or will he use it as an opportunity to smear his political opponents/talk radio/FOXnews/etc?

    Obama has a real opportunity tonight. I’m hoping he hits it out of the park as he did with his Nobel Peace Prize speech – a personal favorite.

  63. So right wing rhetoric cannot incite individuals. The blame lies with the individuals.

    Left wing ‘pundints,’ however, can indeed incite violence.


  64. It’s always interesting to me to watch how long it takes for reasonable and honest conservatives to take a stance and reject the red-meat right-wing fringe. An excellent example that comes to mind is Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs: I visit his site regularly, in part because he takes on the extremist right, and isn’t afraid to admit when he was wrong in the past. He has integrity.

    I have a strong suspicion we won’t be witnessing similar trends of honesty and integrity from Glenn Reynolds. Sure doesn’t look good when I read garbage like this.

    Conservatives: clean your house.

  65. She’s a middle-school bully. We’ve allowed middle-school bullies to control our political discourse.

  66. You have really come along way, Xeni, and you are becoming quite an apex-journalist. (Your coverage of politics, indie rock-n-roll, and obviously tech are way ahead of the curve.) Thank you for posting this – I had no idea that this was a “dog whistle speech” or what blood libel was.

  67. I’m English, but follow American current affairs also… and I can say safely she would be murdered in the press here for such a terrible delivery style….. that shows all the sincerity in what she’s is speaking… of a farengi selling worthless trinkets in deep space 9.

    I squint watching… as to some how reduce the unease I feel listening to her stumble through such obligatory patriotic blurb that has no relevance to the current issue but I’m sure ticks some Palin staffers box for sentences required in each public appearance

    Our current PM sometimes speaks in a similar way… in an almost pandering nature, like reinforcing things to school kids each morning in assembly before classes

    but palins got it down

  68. actually I don’t understand your friend Glenn’s complaint. Frank Rich’s use of the phrase was apt in comparing lies about homosexuals to those about Jews. What is Palin’s point? That lies about people who use gun imagery in political campaigns, smears all politicians?

  69. Dear Xeni,

    As distasteful as it is to report and comment on people like Sarah Palin and her ilk, it is necessary when they wish to (or when their employers wish to) obtain and consolidate power. It is dangerous to ignore their voices, especially when they have access to mass media and are considered a “voice” in the culture.

    All too often, ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. This is especially true in politics.

    Thank you for reporting on her. I don’t like hearing about her, but I think it’s necessary to put her and her views under the spotlight. Under the spotlight, we will see what she has to hide. Under the spotlight, we will learn what her real message — her self-consistent narrative (or lack thereof) — is. Under the spotlight, she will lose and we will win.

  70. Sarah Palin is a troll. Don’t feed the trolls. She *wants* people to react to what she says and make a big fuss about it. It’s free publicity.

    Those who don’t wield a sword can still die on one. You can ignore her to your heart’s content and she could still become the next President. Still think that pretending that she doesn’t exist is a good idea?

  71. surely the most absurd thing about the use of the term “blood libel” is that its intended to describe some kind of defamation of an ethnically related group. is palin (or anyone else) really claiming that those on her side of various political differences are somehow part of a “blood clan” rather than just ideologues of a similar ilk?

    1. It’s not about US conservatives thinking of themselves as a “blood clan” as much as victims. Victimhood is what fuels their movement. What better way to sustain their delusions of persecution than pretending they’re being persecuted just like one of history’s most persecuted groups?

      US Conservatives = Jews, therefore US Liberals = Nazis.

      It really is that simple. And it works.

  72. Gotta love that Palin (and pundit friends) work for the largest media empires in the world and are always blaming the media for their problems.

  73. I think the reason teabags are feeling defensive is embarassment. Most people do not think that the shooter was compelled to shoot because of the media. Influenced, perhaps, but the choice was still his to make. the real problem that the teabag movement has to deal with is the fact that after the shooting, it is hard, really hard, not to see the parallel between Loughner’s madness and the craziness of the teabags. It was never a pretty sight in the light of day. Now it looks downright stupid. So the left really does not need to say very much. The ensuing silence is awkward enough.

    A quick comment about psychiatry. There has been alot of talk about schizophrenia and psychosis. Some of it has been unethical armchair diagnosing by actual psychiatrists attempting to use their various media credentials as authority. There are hazards to doing this, such as being totally wrong. So while speculation is natural and inevitable, there are many good reasons to be wary when a psychiatrist invokes their title to assert certainty.

    We do not actually know that the shooter was delusional. Much of the talk about mind control is “in the air” culturally, and can be construed as a short hand and lazy way of communicating resentment about the rule of law and other political issues. Because we do not yet know if he has actually experienced his thoughts or body being controlled by external forces, it is premature to assume his references to mind control reflect psychosis. Paranoia is not necessarily psychotic. See Freeman et al. in J Abnorm Psychol. 2010; 119: 83-92.

    This brings things back to the discussion of context. And the context must be acknowledged to be much wider than Palin’s unfortunate media material. To skip forward to what I think is the important question: if somebody is manufacturing dissent, who is doing it and to what end? Who would be interested in co-opting true dissent and debate with nonsense? Again, not all paranoia is psychotic.

    1. An interesting comment.

      If I may re-phrase and conflate your final two questions:

      Which hands scatter the seeds of discord; and why?

      1. Perhaps, but recession kids have been thrown into a gigantic dumpster en masse. The lid of the dumpster is made of pop-culture pap that is essentially apolitical. Makers of that kind of pap share a greater burden of blame than Palin’s website designer. My hunch: Lacan, as in Name of the Father. As a dad myself, I feel badly for the dad here. I am sure he did not intend to create a monster, just as much as he did not intend to become a grumpy, paranoid father. Sons tend to fight their father’s battles, much to their own peril. I don’t know if that is what happened here. If so, somebody get the family some help right away.

        1. In the name of the Father indeed : ) I was wondering if someone else had taken this circumstance into account, did electronic and real-local research, found a few of the best candidates, and anonymously pointed a few in the right direction. Reasonably, an organization could pull the Useful Idiot operation with at least 10 seeds at once, all matching Jared Loughner’s demographic, keep distant yet real time surveillance on all the U.I.’seeds’. One might say the operation was then guided by the hand of the Holy Ghost, the father’s father.
          And if the operation didn’t succeed? If none of the Useful Idiots confronted Giffords with pop-guns blazing? No Harm, No Foul. Intel.Ops is funny, because such organizations have so little transparency that inter-department communication about Field.Ops often doesn’t occur within the organization. Look at the Public release of (what’s left of) Operation MK-Ultra. The CIA was so ignorant about what was going on that the agency simply couldn’t confirm anything about the MK-U program. Testimony given to the Church committee/Rockefeller commission by operatives indicated that surreptitious administration of other operatives (including intra agency and trans agency, IE FBI) was a part of the program. The acting CIA director seemed to know of the program, and some of its aims, as he ordered files destroyed. But what of the field details?
          Anyway, I’m getting to the point of ranting so I shall cease now. Please don’t think I actually believe what I just typed, rather understand that I simply don’t know. Yet I’ve studied and experienced enough weirdness regarding truth to remain a multi-model agnostic! Some reading.
          – Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. By Martin A. Lee, Bruce Shlain
          – Storming Heaven: LSD & the American Dream by Jay Stevens
          – A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments. By Henry Albarelli
          Plus a more up to date thing: Here are troves of MK-U declassified files. Most of the files were destroyed, but in the late 70’s some were found to be ‘misfiled’. Quite a bit yet relatively insignificant. Most field details are in the ‘aether’ as we once said. Lo!

    2. Very thoughtful comments. I’ve been considering your closing question “who is doing it and to what end? Who would be interested in co-opting true dissent and debate with nonsense?” Since much of this right wing populist wave has been fueled, flamed and fanned by Faux News opinionaters and talk radio- can’t we simply reduce the motive to a few individuals making a media buck and laughing all the way to the bank? That doesn’t make the movement less dangerous, but I don’t see a puppet master behind it all, do you?

  74. I love Patton Oswalt‘s Facebook commentary on this:

    From Palin’s “blood libel” video:

    1. “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and
    end with the criminals who commit them.”

    …2. “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and
    pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to
    incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

    Which one is it, Ms. Palin, you narcissistic dunderhead?

    1. anon 110

      It’s not that i agree with Sarah Palin, but i think both points stand, let me rephrase :
      1.Any […] act begin and end with the people who commit them.
      2.Inciting to violence and hatred is condemnable whether the act they incite is commited or not.

  75. No, Sarah. A “blood libel” is when you falsely accuse a group of killing people. Nobody’s accused you of actually killing anyone, just of contributing to an unstable man’s aggression. On the other hand, when you said that Obama’s health care plan included “death panels” to euthanize the elderly, that was a blood libel. Got the difference?

  76. One of the first comments I saw on her Facebook posting with the full text:

    “Sarah, your silver lining is that six liberals are dead. Woohoo!”


  77. for a moderator/editor – just noticed that the “update” notes that the video became non-embeddable at 11:50 PT. Is time traveling today? ;-)

    1. Funnily enough, Movable Type does have an effect that I call the Temporal Jiggle. Items have a inexplicable way of inserting themselves into the past or future.

    2. I don’t understand your comment.

      The video item became unavailable to us for embedding at 11:50 PT (in other words, ten minutes before noon time on the West Coast.)

      This blog post was originally published at 10:16 PT (in other words, quarter past ten in the morning.)

  78. whoever the DP on this shoot was should be fired and blacklisted.

    Look, I do these kind of standups all the time. The talking head rarely ever reads the script beforehand, and they have to get through it in one solid take because there’s nothing to cut with, there’s only time for 1 angle so you can’t even successfully intercut wide/med/tight if you need to, and it’s a pain to move the prompter each time anyway.

    However, whether it’s me, or the sound guy or the grip or someone on staff, SOMEONE always makes sure the flag is in the right place, and that the lights are high enough to get out of the “talent”‘s glasses. We’re talking video basics 101 here.

    That said, it speaks volumes that nobody on her staff (and I guarantee there were at least 3 there) caught the fact that the flag was on her wrong shoulder and facing the wrong direction. Someone had to put it there on purpose.

    Oh, and something about whatever it was that she said in the video wasn’t too keen either. I have no idea what it was though because I was distracted.

  79. I don’t expect Sarah Palin to know the historical use of the phrase “blood libel”, nor do I expect her to apologize for it, even if B’nai B’rith and the Anti Defamation League ask her to. I am trying to think of her ever apologizing or admitting error, and I can’t remember any time when she did; it’s always the fault of the “lamestream media” not her.

    But I don’t think Sarah Palin is in any way to blame for the AZ shootings. Nor do I think Glenn Beck or any other right-wing pundit is to blame. I don’t see anything in the shooter’s writings that make him political except in the most abstract sense; he didn’t kill because of some left-right political stance, he killed because he was severely mentally ill.

    That said, I think it IS a good time for the media to be addressing the violent rhetoric that get’s passed off as political speech. Lest we forget, last year a man named Byron Williams shot two police officers in California, and by his own admission he was on his way to the Tides Foundation to do some killing there, after hearing Glenn Beck’s lengthy diatribe about how the Tides Foundation is part of an evil conspiracy to destroy America.

    Does anyone remember the opening scene to Terry Gilliam’s “The Fisher King”, where DJ Jeff Bridges tells a listener that yuppies are scum and don’t deserve to live? What happens next?

    Free speech has limits, we can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, we can’t call for the assassination of public figures. Listen to what Glenn Beck says every single day and tell me that it’s not an amalgam of the two: he may insist he is against violence, but he is also telling his viewers we are all in mortal danger from a president who is a communist/Nazi/racist/Muslim, who is taking away our freedoms, who is going to take away our guns and put conservatives in camps. That is miles away from simply using “violent metaphors.”

  80. I love it when “conservatives” like Palin speak of personal responsibility. They think everyone should tow their own line, as long as it’s the line she/they want you to tow. I also wish she would learn how to speak English.

  81. All this talk ignores the most important issue here: Thanks to all this “blood libel” talk, I can’t find any blood of Christian children anywhere. How am I supposed to make my matzo now?!?

    1. wonderful, maybe the kids are alright after all. the first glimmer of hope in a week of badness.

  82. I don’t know why people are so afraid to lose a lawsuit against her. With enough of ’em, eventually one will stick.

  83. Is forgoing all form of media the ONLY way I could never hear of this woman ever again?

    *Grabbing head in despair* D:

  84. Sarah’s speech was clunky and overlong and sometimes sounded like she was struggling with it. And Instacracker just dug himself a deeper hole. He quoted only one real liberal, Frank Rich, who used it correctly. Maybe Reynolds thinks Alan Dershowitz is a liberal. I thought so too, in the 1980s and 1990s. I kinda lost track of him until hearing that, like a few other liberals, Dershowitz crapped his pants on 9/11 and ran crying to Bush’s dime-store Torquemadas to save America from the Caliphate.

    Besides, the Left says “fuck” a lot. Also.

  85. To those doubting whether Palin understands the words she’s speaking – remember she is an evangelical christian, and those words are in the Bible. She understands EVERY SINGLE ONE, in ways the rest of us can’t even fathom.

  86. I laughed my head off at here blithe hypocrisy when she said
    that blame should be apportioned to “the individual and not
    collectively.” I wanted to yell, like Lewis Black from The Daily Show,
    at the screen:

  87. The think that keeps bothering me is that this is a weird, creepy thing to allude to in her speech. It doesn’t matter whether she’s entirely cognizant of what she’s saying or not, this is a creepy thing to say. Either it’s some evangelical dog-whistle, or sloppy talk her handlers picked up somewhere, or esoteric weirdness she came up with on her own. Do we want phrases like “blood libel” emanating from the White House for four or eight years?

  88. She’ll run for president precisely because that’s where the money is. If she actually wins, well, she can always quit.

    I doubt it, but only time will tell. (“Stay tuned for Sarah Palin on the Campain Trail, coming up next on TLC.”) In the meantime, she’s on the same list that Limbaugh and Beck, among others, are on, which is the list of people I actively refuse to pay any attention to, because of their lies and demagogy.

  89. Folks, anyone debating whether she will run again in 2012 needs to only realize this: If she was not thinking of running, then why do all of this?

    For someone who claims she left office to get away from politics, it’s 2011 and she seems fully entrenched in taking anything/everything political and personal.

  90. As soon as I listened to this, something Palin said LEAPT out at me. While the Blood-libel thing is getting all the attention, this article touches Palin’s assertion that:
    Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights…
    Sarah Palin Refudiates Sarah Palin

    But if that’s the case, why was Sarah Palin so opposed to the law-abiding citizens of New York City who maybe wanted to freely exercise their religious faith and maybe play some basketball and foster interfaith activities in Lower Manhattan? Chalk it up to a self-refudiation, I guess.

    Yes! EXACTLY!! Can we have a little spotlight on that portion of the story too? kthxbye

  91. Come on now. It’s been like three years. If she can’t speak the language, she should go back where she came from.

  92. This strikes me as a manufactured controversy.

    I consider myself both well read and well schooled in the humanities, and I wasn’t aware of the connotations of this phrase. On its face, the phrase makes sense to articulate the point I think she was trying to make. Unless there is anything more than remote speculation from a group of people who despise Palin to begin with, I can’t accept that it had any sinister subtext beneath its superficial meaning.

    The notion that she’s using coded language to incite an emotional response among the conservative base seems a bit far-fetched. There are plenty of genuine doctrinal issues on which to criticize Palin. I don’t think it’s productive to make these, frankly silly, assertions. It makes her critics look like they are on the fringe.

      1. I don’t think I’m alone in not knowing the historical context of the phrase. And I don’t imagine it’s because I (or the other ignorant observers) aren’t learned scholars. I have a degree in literature and am currently a law student; I’ve done my share of historical study. I just don’t think it’s a common phrase in modern political parlance, and can accept the probability that it didn’t have a hidden meaning.

        To jump to the conclusion that she intended some anti-semitic meaning is premature at best.

        1. I’d be more concerned about the fact that she doesn’t seem to care about being thought of as an anti-semite, than her saying something antisemitic.

    1. I consider myself both well read and well schooled in the humanities, and I wasn’t aware of the connotations of this phrase.

      But are you a politician who ran for president in 2008 and then “retired” to private life to basically regroup and attempt a new post-2008 loss political life?

      You see, Sarah Palin has these things called advisers and speech writers. Well, maybe she doesn’t have speech writers, but generally advisors exist to catch gaffes like this before they happen.

      So I personally do not do much but twitter and laugh at the idiocy of the “blood libel” statement, but I am 1000% aghast that someone who wants to run for public office—and was promoted so heavilly by a major political party—can be so incredibly stupid as to say something like that. Has she ever in here life not stuck her foot in her mouth while her head is up her ass? If she were Vice President, I would be terrified.

      If this is how she handles the “small stuff” of political life, I cannot imagine how she would handle other things.

      1. Malice, stupidity. Stupidity, malice. It doesn’t really matter which one since they’re both unacceptable in someone who might have access to nukes.

        1. I don’t believe she’s smart enough to maliciously use “blood libel” the way she did. But the stupidity and narcism of it all is beyond me.

          But I still love, love, love this ditz! I want her to stay in the public eye until 2012 elections. She’s the best advertising the Democrats have ever had.

  93. I can’t laugh at her, because she’s one of “US.” (US Citizen) So, I am making an appeal to Tina Fey. Ms Fey, please make your way to the SNL studios IMMEDIATELY. The writers are almost done with a script for you, which I pray segues into the music guest for Saturday, Cee-Lo, who will tenderly invite you to center of the stage, sit you on a stool, and then sing “FUCK YOU” just for you. Beautiful.

  94. I think I could respect her even slightly, if she would admit some level of responsibility for denigrating the political discourse in America. People like her seem pathologically incapable of ever admitting any wrong doing.

    Matt Payne has written a great article on the ‘Blood Libel’ and the issues that surround it, here:

  95. Admit nothing
    Deny everything
    Make counter accusations

    Everyone memorize the above. Watch it applied to every situation, just like this one.

    Admit nothing
    Deny everything
    Make counter accusations

  96. I wonder what the “reasonable” and “neighborly” Mr. Reynolds’ response would have been to a Muslim speaker using “blood libel” in a similar context?

  97. So wait, did she just say that media isn’t responsible for others actions? Well hot damn we have someone to fight for artist in music, video games, and (adult) art. I’m looking forward to hearing her talk in depth about how porn will not make a person rape everyone around them, or Gran Theft Auto won’t make you go out and hurt call girls, and Ozzy wont make your 15 year old kill himself.

    Its either that or she said, The things I say and put forth are not worth anyones attention. I think that might be an odd thing for someone in politics to say. I was under the impression that language and word usage was very important in politics, from powerful and inspiring speeches to spending hours on the floor debating the word usage in the second amendment.

  98. The way I see it, yes there might be many meanings for ‘Blood Libel’, and there might be many appropriate uses for the term outside of its charged meaning. But the same could be said for the “N word” and any way you slice it, its a bad idea to use it in your speech.

  99. Patton Oswalt had some incredibly funny tweets about this yesterday. Example:

    “Took video down. Sorry for offending Jews. My camp is concentrating on better one. Final solution soon. #palin”

  100. maybe i’m oversimplifying things but it seems to me that obama managed to get lots of votes from sane people and some people from the other side have decided to try catch up by going for the crazy person vote. Is that what to american politics?

  101. I think the “blood libel” gaffe is distracting everybody and obscuring the real nugget in here, which is that Palin explicitly accuses “journalists and pundits” of “inciting violence.” This clearly contradicts her entire supposed thesis, which is that she’s not responsible for what other people do. If so, all them other journalists and pundits (besides her) are not either.

    If she, like, came down off the mountaintop and answered questions instead of just Twittering and posting Youtube videos, somebody would have to actually ask her which journalists and pundits have incited violence, and when, and exactly what they said that was so much more reprehensible than all the shit she’s said over the years.

  102. 1) [A notorious Bible verse, Matthew 27:25,] taken by Christians for centuries to indicate that the Jewish people as a whole and for perpetuity bore direct responsibility for the crucifixion and were therefore fair game for persecution and extermination.

    You really really need to replace “Christians” with “Catholics” no one but that group use/used that verse for a persecution excuse.

  103. “I’m not a witch. I’m not a jew. I’m not even a vampire. I’m nothing you’ve herd. I’m you.
    None of us are purrfect, but none of us can be happy with what we see all around us. Polititians who think shooting and killing should be reserved for oversea countries with brown people.
    I’ll go to Washington and do what you’d do. Kill.
    I’m Sarah Palin and I approve this message.
    I’m you.”

  104. Here’s a backhanded defense of Palin on grounds of ignorance. I don’t know how she chooses her speechwriters, but I assume they are not much smarter than her. In this case, I don’t give them enough credit to know the phrase was some kind of religious slur. They probably thought that “blood libel” was a cool and evocative way of saying a really bad libel. She didn’t even know what the “Bush Doctrine” was while trying to run for VP. How likely is it that she would have known the etymology of this phrase, or that she is smart enough to hire speechwriters who would know all the many, many things she doesn’t know?

  105. As a non-US citizen what scares me is that Palin might very well be president at some point; she’s certainly geering up
    for it.

    Is it only people outside the US who see her as having fascist tendencies,as demagogue in the making? She’s not just a funny doll figure given to mangling the language.

    The use of the term “blood libel” was utterly inappropriate.

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